Follow Mint Lounge

Latest Issue

Home > News> Talking Point > How an impossible mission became a reality

How an impossible mission became a reality

  • From photographic accounts to scientific analyses, here are five fresh takes on the Apollo 11 landing
  • These books recount the history of how a mission that was felt to be insurmountable became possible

The Moon: A History for the future —By Oliver Morton

(Economist Books, $28, or around 1,900)

This splendid new history provides an overview of humankind’s relationship with its only natural satellite. Since ancient times, the moon has been a potent presence in myths and fables. Even Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong-Buzz Aldrin’s moonwalk didn’t dim its mystique. Our ambition now is to know even more about the moon, and, perhaps, one day settle there. Will that ever be possible?

Apollo 11: The Inside Story —By David Whitehouse

(Icon Books, $19.95)

An event as staggering as the moon landing took place—no surprise—against a backdrop of much drama and suspense. Based on interviews with some of the key players who were involved with the Apollo mission as well as a close reading of the political tensions inherent in the global space race, this is a riveting account of one of the most outstanding achievements in the history of humanity.

One Giant Leap: The impossible mission that flew us to the moon

—By Charles Fishman

(Simon & Schuster, $29.99)

In 1961, when US president John F. Kennedy announced his country’s goal to send human beings to the moon, he gave the space agency Nasa less than 10 years to do so. At the time, no scientist had any idea of how to create an appropriate machine to transport people to the moon. With gripping detail and insight, Fishman documents how this impossible mission became a reality.

Picturing Apollo 11: Rare views and undiscovered moments

—By J.L. Pickering and John Bisney

(University Press of Florida, $45)

Curated by one of the world’s most famous space historians, this is a collector’s item. Drawing on his vast private collection of lunar photographs as well as those preserved in the Nasa archives, Pickering gives us a ringside view of the Apollo 11 mission. This is as close to the magic of the moon and the mysteries of the universe as you will get without ever getting aboard a spaceship.

Apollo To The Moon: A History in 50 Objects

—By Teasel E. Muir-Harmony

(National Geographic, $35)

Without the lunar rover, space food, moon rocks and other such objects, the history of humankind’s descent on the moon would be incomplete. From the holdings in the Smithsonian archives, Muir-Harmony picks out 50 objects to reconstruct the fascinating history of Apollo 11’s journey.

Next Story